Think positively, or rather : respond more flexibly?

There is much talk of the alleged importance of “positive thinking”, for obvious reasons. But sometimes this may be a new way to fight against our alleged negativity, and such a struggle often is… not very positive.
Instead, it tends to increase stress and, often without us being aware, it could fuel our shame. And even if it does not draw us so far down, the risk remains that we impose new fixed ideas upon ourselves, and perhaps a frozen smile that puts people ill at ease.

We all have obsessions, and we tend to hang in there because these seem to give us safe benchmarks. Unfortunately this also locks us into more rigidities and dogmatism (and we all have our dogmas …), reduces our “flexibility” and makes us less able to respond appropriately to unexpected events. Moreover, it cuts us off from our curiosity, that quality that we love so much in children and is the basis of all creativity. What to do, then?

“From asserting with certainty to questioning with curiousity”

Doubt is often dreaded… Perhaps this is why we all have a tendency to look for certainties. However, in doing so we become rigid, we submit to fixed ideas and lose our openness. All the more so if the certainties are painful, such as I “know” I am worthless, that I don’t amount to much, that I am capable, etc.
I invite you to an experiment. Read this message and see how it affects you:

“I’m stupid!”

It is likely that you feel your breathing getting blocked, that you wouldn’t like to look in the mirror and that it becomes much harder to do what is important to you. And yet, at least when we were children, we have come to believe this. Not only because maybe someone actually said this to us, but also because it provides us with an explanation for the experience that others are so harsh with us. Which seems better than staying flouted, disoriented, confused. Moreover, as small children we depend so much on our parents that it seems better to be ashamed of ourselves rather than blame our parents…
But as an adult, you might begin to question these fixed ideas and dare to doubt, something which on the one hand can do much good but on the other hand also increase your insecurity, at least initially.

To illustrate what has been suggested, what’s different when you rephrase the words written in bold above this way:

“Am I stupid ?”

Now, stay with this question, while placing your hands on your heart (or elsewhere, if that suits you better). What is different, now? If you function like many other people, your reaction will be a little mixed: on the one hand you maybe notice a more open perspective and a greater curiosity, but you may also feel that this greater openness has its price: a loss of certainty. And when one already feels insecure, a further loss of certainty can trigger a painful anxiety. This is where the other methods described later on this website, can come into play, so that you can reconnect to this innate curiosity, this openness which can do so much good, but the price of which seems too high, at times

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